Friday, January 9, 2015

North Carolina: The North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo boasts an impressive five miles of trails and hundreds of species of animals. I could've spent all day in their aviary alone, and that is honestly where I spent most of my time (when I was oogling the polar bear). I also spent time watching four lion cubs terrorize their parents. The zoo is seriously impressive, and the habitats are HUGE which made me feel better.  

I've really gotten into photographing birds, but I'm not really very good at it yet. What better place to photograph birds than a zoo where they can't get too far away from me? In theory, it's a good idea. In practice, it's a bit more difficult than I had thought.  These birds might be a bit more acclimatized to humans than those in the wild, but they are still skittish enough to move away from you when you think you have a great image.  Also, the light in the glass building wasn't the best mostly due to a very overcast day, so my shutter speed couldn't be as fast as I wanted it to be. 

A couple of these pictures are going into a newer, larger project of birds that I'm going to be printing out using an early photographic process.  This project won't be ready for awhile; it is time consuming and right now I don't have the full time to dedicate to the whole process. I am slowly working on getting together my favorite images and creating digital negatives. I'll post more about my progress as it continues. 

Black Bear

Eclectus Parrot

Green Woodhoopoes

Grizzly Bear!

Scarlet Ibis Wing

Marbled Teal 

Masked Lapwing

Mourning Dove

Nicobar Pigeon

Ringed Teal

Scarlet Ibis


Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Saturday, January 3, 2015

South Carolina: Charleston

I really wanted to do something special for Christmas this year. I couldn't go home to visit family, so I decided to head down the coast to Charleston. What a beautiful city! I spent four amazing days there and it wasn't enough time to see everything I wanted to. The food is incredible, the people are awesome, and the weather was a balmy 70 degrees for the majority of the time I was there.  The first day I spent wandering around downtown Charleston and ventured into the Slave Mart Museum. It was super informative and very well put together.  That night I had dinner at an oyster bar called The Ordinary that was extraordinary.

Day two involved a harbor trip to Fort Sumter.  Earlier this year I travelled to Appomattox to see where the Civil War ended. Well, this trip, I got to see where the Civil War started. The trip to the Fort included some pretty awesome views of Charleston and the Arthur Ravenel Bridge along with Castle Pinckney.  The Castle was a harbor fortification much like Fort Sumter. They were both built with the idea that they would protect the harbor from any possible invasions. Also spotted on the ride to the Fort were several seabirds, and one that I was super excited to see, a Northern Gannett. These birds are HUGE with 70-75 inch wingspans, and they are really beautiful. I didn't get a really great close picture of them, but I was able to capture some far away images.

Inside Ft. Sumter

Officer's Quarters

The view of Ft Sumter from the boat

Northern Gannett

Northern Gannett

Northern Gannett

Charleston Harbor

Christmas Day found me wandering the coast trying to get pictures of birds.  I went out on Patriot's Point, but didn't find much there birdwise, so I drove around to Fort Moultrie and spent the morning walking around the Revolutionary War Fort and the nearby beach.  On the way back to where I was staying, I stopped at a lookout called Shem Creek where I spotted the coolest pelican I had seen. I have become a bit obsessed with pelicans, and this guy posed for me for a good 10 minutes.


Double Crested Cormorant

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Before I headed out of town, I went back to Patriot's Point to check out the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier that was in commission towards the end of WWII. It was also used to pick up the Apollo 11 crew after their flight around the moon. On the way home, I stopped at the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, SC. This place is fantastic. They have raptors from all over the world, and they rehabilitate birds of prey from the Carolinas.  The people who run the Center are full of knowledge, and have some great information.  They gave us a flying demonstration of an Eurasian Eagle Owl, a Lanner Falcon, a Kite, and a Red Shouldered Hawk.  The Center is doing great things for raptors in the area. I was really pleased that I had stopped to check it out on my way home.

View from the Captain's Chair
On the Flight Deck


Kite in flight